“President Donald Trump.” Those are three words I hope no service member ever has to utter. Indeed, no American should ever have to utter them.
My service in the United States Army dates back to the presidency of Richard M. Nixon. Regardless of my rank and regardless of who sat in the Oval Office, it was always my duty to follow the orders of my Commander in Chief. That wasn’t just part of the job description — it was the job description.
But as a retired general and a voting citizen, it is now my duty to voice my concern about anyone in uniform ever having to follow orders given by a President Trump. He is unfit for the job and would be a grave danger to our country.
This is why I am publiclly — and enthusiastically — endorsing Hillary Clinton.
This is not a matter of politics — it is a matter of national security. Commanders in Chief are charged with sending soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines into places where bad guys want to kill them. Yet a president cannot be afraid to send young men and women into battle, provided that their potential loss of life is properly measured against the complex algorithm of keeping our nation safe.
Donald Trump has neither the experience, nor the temperament, to step into this critical job. Throughout his rancorous, high-decibel campaign, he has repeatedly shown a jaw-dropping ignorance of military culture, whether it’s his reckless disregard for the vital peacekeeping and security legacy of NATO, or his callous insensitivity to the Muslim parents of a young man killed in a war zone. More than 50 of America’s most respected Republican national security experts have publicly stated that Donald Trump is unfit to serve as Commander-in-Chief.
By contrast, Hillary Clinton has been as close to presidency as an individual can get without actually taking the oath of office. She would assemble an infinitely stronger national security team than Trump ever could. She has a proven track record of working within the national command authority as Secretary of State.
Her service on the Senate Armed Services Committee makes her more prepared to work with the military than a reality TV star who managed five draft deferments during the Vietnam War.
Even more egregious than Donald Trump’s woeful lack of experience is his shameful cluelessness. Of the countless missteps his campaign has made in the past year, the most notorious was Trump’s shocking comment last month when a veteran, Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman, gave Trump the Purple Heart he had earned in combat.
“I always wanted to get the Purple Heart,” Trump cracked with a smirk. “This was much easier.”
It was almost too embarrassing to witness someone show such staggering disrespect for the true meaning of the Purple Heart. No one wants to get a Purple Heart — it is awarded to those who are wounded or died in combat. The first time I pinned a Purple Heart to the chest of a soldier, I didn’t know what to say, such is the painful significance of the medal. That single comment alone should disqualify him from serving as Commander in Chief.
No one is more prepared for this historic contest than Clinton herself.
“I completely reject anyone, including my opponent, who calls the American military, and I quote, ‘a disaster,’” Clinton said at the American Legion’s convention in Cincinnati. “That is an insult to the men and women serving today and all who have served before and put their lives on the line. It is just not true.”
I love this country and I love its military and the men and women who serve, and I want to hand it off to someone who is ready to be Commander in Chief on day one.
That is why I support Hilary Clinton for President of the United States.
Major General Dennis Laich retired from the U.S. Army in 2006 after thirty-five years service. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College and Harvard’s National and International Security Program, and is the author of Skin in the Game: Poor Kids and Patriots. He lives in Powell.